WATCH: A Trans Veteran Explains Why We Need ENDA
BY Sunnivie Brydum
July 11 2013 4:50 PM ET
The Center for American Progress just released the latest video in its "Workplace Discrimination Series," highlighting stories of real LGBT people who have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The video profiles Mia Macy, a military veteran and former police officer who was recruited for a job with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The ATF had completed Macy's background check and extended her an offer of employment, according to the video. But days before she was scheduled to start work, her new supervisor stopped returning her calls, despite a last-minute congressional budget solution that prevented the position from being eliminated.
Frantically looking for work after uprooting her life to move from Arizona to Washington, D.C. for the ATF job, Macy reached out to the Transgender Law Center, which filed an initial inquiry with the ATF to discover why Macy's job offer suddenly vanished.
"And what we found was that they didn't in fact didn’t kill the positions, they kept the positions, but they hired somebody that was unqualified, that had never been in the military, never been police, never been trained," explains Macy in the video. "And subsequently [the ATF] also came to me and said, 'You might have a legitimate complaint, but unfortunately, because you’re transgender it’s not covered as a complaint.'"
Indeed, it is perfectly legal in 33 states to fire someone simply because they are transgender. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees can be fired because of their sexual orientation in 29 states, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
That's why LGBT organizations around the country are pushing Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prevent workplace discrimination against LGBT people in all 50 states. For the first time in its two-decade history lingering in Congress, ENDA passed a Senate committee vote with a bipartisan vote of 15-7 on Wednesday. The bill now heads to the Senate floor, where it has 53 cosponsors guaranteed to vote for it. Despite that majority in support, advocates are still searching for seven more senators to commit to supporting the bill, allowing it to overcome an anticipated filibuster led by Senate Republicans. If the bill passes out of the Senate, it heads to the GOP-controlled House, where it faces another uphill battle.
Meet Macy in the video below, via CAP.